Geraldton in Western Australia is a great destination for those looking to enjoy the outdoors, but it has so much more to offer. This vibrant coastal city has a laid back vibe that draws people to visit and stay for an extended period of time.
The city’s rich past combined with its laid back coastal atmosphere makes it an ideal place to stay while exploring Western Australia’s Coral Coast and Wildflower Country.
Geraldton has cafes around every corner, which come in handy during those mornings when you’re craving a coffee or tea. The shops sell everything from clothes to souvenirs, so you can take away memories of your time spent there.
If you are interested in finding out what this town has to offer, here are just a few things to do in Geraldton.
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I would like to respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners, and First People of these lands. I would like to pay my respect to the Elders past, present, and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture, and hopes of their people.
Things to do in Geraldton WA
Geraldton, or Gero as the locals calls it, has interesting museums, galleries and historical buildings to visit as well as some beautiful beaches. The warm climate with consistent breezes during summer make it perfect for water sport enthusiasts or those who simply want to relax on the beach.
HMAS Sydney II Memorial Geraldton
On 19th November 1941, during WWII, HMAS Sydney engaged with the German armed raider Kormoran resulting in the sinking of both ships. The loss of 645 shipmates represents the greatest single tragedy in Australia’s Naval history and this Memorial commemorates them and their families.
The exact location of the two shipwrecks was unknown until the 16th March, 2008, when the wreck of HMAS Sydney II was discovered at a depth of 2400 metres, 112 nautical miles west of Steep Point, Western Australia.
The design, by Joan Walsh-Smith and Charles Smith of Smith Sculptors, has a combination of elegance, simplicity and symbolism. The main feature is a dome, made up of silver gulls that form a filigree canopy, which is held up by seven pillars, representing the seven states and territories of Australia. The interior side of the Wall of Remembrance bears the names of all 645 men who lost their lives.
This memorial should definitely be on your list of things to do in Geraldton and is most striking at sunrise and sunset.
The HMAS Sydney II Memorial is situated at Mount Scott, a 15-minute walk from the foreshore or less than a 5-minute drive.
Point Moore Lighthouse
The red and white candy-striped Point Moore Lighthouse Geraldton is a popular attraction for many visitors to Geraldton and has become an icon in this port town.
The first all-steel tower on the Australian mainland, this lighthouse was built back in 1878. It is also one of the oldest surviving lighthouses under Federal control with a history that’s as long and winding as its beam.
The foundations were originally laid for the Moore Point Lighthouse in 1877 but they were in the wrong position, so had to be relocated 5 km from Geraldton centre. The ship ‘Lady Louisa’ from Birmingham (England) brought the prefabricated steel tower by Chance Bros, which was bolted onto the new foundations.
The first light on the lighthouse was established in 1878. The original kerosene wick lamp was replaced by an incandescent-mantle lamp in 1911, but was converted to electricity in 1958. The light was upgraded in 1962, when the candelas was raised to 320,000.
The white and red banding was added in 1969.
The lighthouse is not open to the public, but you can walk around the bottom of it and read some interesting facts about its history. There’s a car park opposite the lighthouse where you can stop and take photos.
St Francis Xavier Cathedral Geraldton
St Francis Xavier Cathedral is a stunning example of the work of London-trained architect-priest Father John Cyril Hawes, who is responsible for the design of several buildings in the Mid West region of Western Australia.
When the Roman Catholic Bishop of Geraldton, William Kelly, met Father John Cyril Hawes in Rome in 1913 he invited him to come to Western Australia and design a Cathedral for the newly formed diocese. Work started on the foundations of the western part of the cathedral in June 1916.
The new St Francis Xavier Cathedral was opened on 18 August 1918, with much excitement. However, in reality, it remained unfinished for eight years as Bishop Kelly died in 1921 with no funding to finish construction. The new bishop, Bishop Richard Ryan, didn’t like the look of the new cathedral and refused to spend any more money on it.
The construction of the cathedral took two decades before it was finally completed in 1938. Hawes created the crypt as a memorial for soldiers who died during WWI.
It is now known as one of Perth’s most iconic structures due to its beautiful blend between Romanesque, French Renaissance and Spanish mission style architecture. As you can see, the interior is quite unique and the exterior is beautiful during the day and night, when it is lit up.
Saint Francis Xavier Cathedral is at 56 Cathedral Ave and open to the public from 7 am until 5:30 pm 7 days a week except Public Holidays when it’s open from 9 am.
Geraldton Heritage Trails
Geraldton has six fascinating heritage walking trails that enable you to get a feel for the history of the place. The trails are of varying lengths and are colour-coded with markers around the town. We took the 4 km waterfront trail, which started along the foreshore and into the city passing historical buildings of interest.
Heading to the beach is one of the most popular things to do in Geraldton in summer, especially for water sport enthusiasts. Geraldton has a variety of beaches offering different conditions for fishing, surfing, Kitesurfing, SUP, swimming and snorkelling.
Champion Beach, Town Beach and Back Beach are all close to the city and great beaches for swimming and fishing.
Separation Point is good for snorkelling and surfing, while Coronation Beach is excellent for windsurfing and said to be one of the top three windsurfing beaches in the world.
Point Moore Lighthouse Beach is a popular shore diving location and at low tide, you can walk straight off the beach onto the reef.
The Geraldton and Beresford Foreshore is an open area, featuring amenities such as barbecues, walking/cycling paths, playgrounds, picnic areas and exercise facilities.
The free Youth Precinct Water Park, with varying water fountains, allows kids to cool down and run off some energy. The toddler area is fully fenced, giving carers an ease of mind.
The Esplanade, at the southern end of the foreshore, features views from its viewing platform looking out onto the ocean, while also being popular with anglers and those watching sunsets or just taking in nature’s beauty.
Museum and Art
Geraldton has an exciting arts and culture scene that continues to grow and includes art galleries, a museum and theatre.
The Museum of Geraldton is where you can learn about Yamaji culture, history, natural landscapes and marine environments. The Shipwrecks gallery features archaeological riches from four Dutch shipwrecks, Batavia, Gilt Dragon, Zuytdorp, and Zeewijk. In the exhibit called From Great Depths, you get to see two other wrecks, HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran, as they currently lie on the ocean floor 2,500 metres deep.
Explore the arts and culture in a regional setting at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery, housed in the turn-of-the century Town Hall building. The gallery opened in 1984 as Western Australia’s first regional A-class venue and is now home to creative works of local, state, national and international artists.
Yamaji Art is an Aboriginal art centre that provides professional services for artists and fair ways to purchase their work. With a focus on sustaining cultural maintenance, Yamaji offers painting, textiles, weaving, printmaking designs and performances.
Buying artwork through Yamaju Art ensures you are purchasing ethically from the indigenous artists who created the work and it is100% Aboriginal owned and governed.
Along the foreshore, you will see the permanent public art installation, emu eggs, which are the work of two Yamaji Art senior artists.
The Queens Park Theatre is Geraldton and the Mid Wests’ premier entertainment venue, which showcases local, national and international performances.
Join this sundowner cruise as the sun sets and spreads a magical golden glow across the sky. You can bring your own drinks for some refreshments, while you take in picturesque views along Western Australia’s coastline. Make sure to pack your camera for this one.
Try the local seafood
Geraldton’s coast is made up of crystal clear waters, which are home to some of Australia’s best seafood, including the elusive rock lobster. This internationally sought after delicacy is prized for its sweet juicy flesh and can be found locally at Skeetas restaurant or by taking a tour through Geraldton Fishermen Co-operative. If you want to see lobster fishermen in action, join them on this Lobster Fishing Tour.
This fishing charter is for everyone from beginners to experienced fishers. They target highly sought after species, such as Pink Snapper, Dhufish, Coral Trout, Red Emperor, Baldchin Groper, Spanish Mackerel and Yellow Fin Tuna. Bait and tackle is included and you can keep what you catch! Free cancellation is included in the price – see here for more info.
The 122 pristine islands of the Houtman Abrolhos are known as Western Australia’s Galapagos Islands. These beautiful white sand and aqua water isles provide a tropical paradise for snorkelers, divers, and fishermen while also being home to sea lions and seabirds.
Located about 60 km west of Geraldton’s coastline, the Abrolhos Islands form one of WA’s most unique marine areas.
While there is no public accommodation available on the islands, you can get there on this five-day cruise on board luxury ship Eco Abrolhos or take it all in from the air on a scenic flight like this one that flies over the Pink Lake and lands on East Wallabi Island.
Hutt Lagoon, aka Pink Lake, is known for its incredible changes in colour throughout the day. It can go from bubblegum pink to light purple depending on the time of day and amount of cloud cover. This spectacle, which happens because it’s filled with algae-rich water, can be best appreciated by air on this 70-minute Pink Lake Scenic Flight. However, you can also stop there on your way to Kalbari.
The best times to visit Hutt Lagoon are mid-morning and sunset.
Geraldton is the ideal location to access the Coral Coast’s carpets of wildflowers, which are in full bloom from late winter. Mullewa is 100 km east of Geraldton and has some of the best wildflowers in the region. It’s also close to Coalseam Conservation Park, which is known for its abundance of everlastings.
You can find out more, including where to find these rare wreath flowers, in our article on Western Australia Wildflowers.
Greenough forms part of the Greater Geraldton region and is known for its pioneering history and leaning trees. These river gums lean due to the constant strong southerly winds that prevent growth on the windward side. The Wajarri name for these trees is Wirnda Ngadara.
There’s also a 17 km nature trail that is suitable for both hiking and mountain biking.
The Yamaji Drive Trail explores 14 Aboriginal sites, each with its own interpretive signage, telling stories about life both before and after European settlement. Along the way, you will be able to stop at an Aboriginal community centre where there are remnants of a midden (shell heaps remaining after ancient feasting) and cool off at a beautiful waterhole, Ellendale Pool.
The drive takes around half a day and is 60 km long.
Get a copy of the Yamaji Drive Map.
Where is Geraldton?
Geraldton is located 420 km north of Perth, Western Australia, on the Batavia Coast. It is the largest regional city north of the capital and is also the capital of the Mid-West region.
This city is an ideal place to break up a Perth to Exmouth road trip.
Perth to Geraldton
Geraldton is only one hour by air from Perth. Qantas flies daily into Geraldton Airport, about 10 km out of the city.
It will take you about 4.5 hours to drive from Perth to Geraldton, either along the Brand Highway or the scenic Indian Ocean Drive.
Integrity Coach Lines run buses from Perth to Geraldton as part of a hop on/hop off service which arrive and depart from the Old Railway Station on Chapman Road.
TransWA have services stopping in Geraldton en route to Kalbarri.
Geraldton Car Hire
There are several car hire companies in Geraldton. Compare car rental prices with Rentalcars.com.
Geraldton Weather and When to Visit
Summer is warm and windy, making ideal conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing. Temperatures average between 30-35°C.
Autumn is the best time to visit the Abrolhos Islands due to the calm ocean and little breeze.
Winter is cooler with some sunny days, perfect for hikes and drives. The wildflowers start making an appearance towards the end of winter.
Spring is the height of wildflower season and a great time of year to visit with the family.
How long to spend in Geraldton
You should allow at least two days in Geraldton and longer if you want to explore further afield.
Geraldton has a variety of accommodation options from hotels to camping. We book through Booking.com as most properties have free cancellation, they offer a price guarantee and their Genius reward system is an added benefit.
Geraldton Hotels & Apartments
Nesuto Geraldton was our choice of family accommodation in Geraldton due to its good value. We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment, which contained a full kitchen with dishwasher, oven and large fridge as well as a dining area and balcony. The air-conditioned apartment was clean and spacious and the only negative is the small car spaces, especially for large 4WDs. It’s located within the Geraldton Mariner Resort, on Chapman Road, near the picturesque Champion Bay.
We booked through booking.com and it included a buffet continental breakfast in the communal lounge. Check prices here.
The highly rated Gerald Apartment Hotel is only 200m from Town Beach and all Guest rooms are equipped with air conditioning, a fridge, a toaster, a kettle, and a shower. This hotel won the award for the Best Regional Hotel in Western Australia at the annual Australian Hotel Association’s (AHA) awards evening on the 9th August 2021 and launched its new Batavia Coast Conference Centre in June this year. Find out more here.
Mantra Geraldton is right on the Batavia Coast Marina in Champion Bay, where you can watch the stunning sunsets and have something to eat at the popular Skeetas (on the ground floor of the Northshore complex). See photos here.
Ocean Centre Hotel is a 4-star contemporary style hotel located directly opposite the beach. There are 92 rooms to choose from, all featuring the latest design and modern technology. The hotel has a bar and restaurant, access to an off-site gym and room service. See rooms here.
Guesthouse / B&B
If you want to stay near the beautiful Tarcoola Beach, Zebras Guesthouse is a great choice for accommodation. The property offers free WiFi and parking to make your stay more convenient. All air-conditioned rooms include flat-screen TVs with basic amenities such as tea/coffee making facilities and en suite bathrooms with showers or bathtubs.
It’s rated 9.2 out of 10 on Booking.com – read reviews here.
Geraldton Motels & Backpackers
All rooms at the Hospitality Geraldton, SureStay by Best Western come with cable TV, tea and coffee making facilities, minibar and free cookies. They also offer in-house movies that can be viewed for an extra fee while a guest laundry is available as well as a barbecue area.
The motel has an à la carte restaurant and a cocktail bar along with room service which offers meal delivery to your room. Read more here.
Geraldton Backpackers offers a variety of clean rooms from dormitories to queen and single private rooms.
Belair Gardens Caravan Park is located right in the heart of Geraldton, 250m from the waterfront. An outdoor pool and games room is available to all guests and offers family-friendly accommodation. You can choose from a wide range of accommodation including cabins, holiday units and camp sites. See accommodation here.
If you want to be close to Geraldton but away from all the hustle and bustle then Sunset Beach Holiday Park is for you. Located on Sunset Beach, it offers a range of accommodation options including motel units, chalets and camping sites. As with most Big 4 holiday parks, the caravan park offers a variety of facilities like a swimming pool, giant jumping pillow, kids playground and BBQs. See photos here.
Geraldton also has a range of private accommodation to suit most travellers. We no longer book through Airbnb as we continually found the same accommodation to be more expensive when compared to VRBO Stayz or Booking.com.
According to the 2016 Census, 38,634 people lived in Greater Geraldton local government area.
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